If you are traveling to a foreign country, you may be wondering if you are on the no fly list. If you are, you may be denied boarding. Whether it is because you are underage, intoxicated, or have an unusual medical condition, there are steps you can take to get yourself off the list.
Secretive watchlisting system
A decade after its creation, the government’s No Fly List has grown to more than 664 names. But its most important feature – the lack of official confirmation that an individual is on the list – remains unchallenged. This is despite the fact that federal guidelines allow officials to nominate individuals to the list. And prosecutors are not barred from using No Fly officers in criminal cases.
The FBI, in particular, uses the watchlist to track suspected terrorists. Information on the list is shared with airlines and some foreign governments. But it is also distributed to private entities. If you are listed, you can be denied employment, remittances or other government benefits.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of several agencies that maintains a watchlist. It contains the names, citizenship, gender, and passport numbers of those suspected of being “known or suspected terrorists.” These records are used by the F.B.I. and other law enforcement agencies, and by private entities. As a result, the list has the potential to discriminate against innocent people.
Another issue is the privacy of individuals who are listed. Watchlisting information can be shared with other federal agents, and with foreign governments, and it can be used to block remittances and bank account closures.
As a result of the leak, cybersecurity researcher Bob Diachenko published his findings on Linkedin and wrote about the server in his article, “The Terrorist Screening Database: How We Are Making It Easy to Find Out If You’re on the No Fly List.” He found the leaked database, and wrote that it included the IP address of a Bahrain-based server. Despite Diachenko’s claims, he could not say for certain if the entire list was exposed.
Meanwhile, the administration is promoting a new global architecture for watchlisting. According to the United Nations’ Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), this will lead to an increased number of individuals being monitored by artificial intelligence systems. However, the GCTF toolkit does not address issues related to human rights compliance, or the human rights of the 99 percent of individuals listed. In the end, the GCTF is an informal governance forum for states, and it is likely that it will continue to replicate the opaque, secretive model of US watchlisting.
In addition, the GCTF watchlisting toolkit has serious consequences for the international population, and is tied to far-reaching global capacity-building programs. In the future, the United States may be asked to share its watchlist data transnationally. Although states have the right to choose how they handle counterterrorism measures, they must ensure that they do so in a way that is compliant with international human rights law.
One of the largest concerns is that the GCTF will use its power to set global standards that will expand and deepen the algorithmic injustices of the U.S. system. Moreover, the GCTF will be used as a blueprint for an expansive global watchlisting architecture that will likely harm individuals and discriminate against them.
Filing a complaint
If you are an American, you are likely aware of the Terrorist Screening Center’s No Fly List. This list is designed to prevent individuals who are suspected of committing crimes related to terrorism from flying commercial aircraft. A few weeks after 9/11, the government implemented several changes to the system. These changes included the creation of the Selectee List and secondary security screening selection.
The selectee list flags individuals for increased scrutiny at airports, and the secondary security screening selection tags passengers for extra inspection. However, many details are still unknown about the watchlisting program.
There have been numerous lawsuits filed against the government over the watchlisting program. One such suit was filed by Anas Elhady in 2016, along with two dozen other plaintiffs. In a nutshell, the lawsuit argued that the government’s alleged efforts to combat terrorism were overly broad and ineffective.
The American Civil Liberties Union also brought a case against the government, arguing that the government had violated their client’s rights in a number of ways. For instance, the government had failed to provide them with a detailed explanation of why they were listed on the selectee list. They had also not provided the ACLU’s clients with an opportunity to dispute their inclusion on the list.
Among other things, the government has not provided the minimum substantive derogatory criteria used to place individuals on the selectee list. And, the government will not allow its witnesses to be cross-examined. Consequently, this program is not a transparent exercise of due process.
Moreover, the American Civil Liberties Union found that the federal government’s omission of the most basic requirement in the selection of a name from its no fly list has resulted in a glaring omission. That is, a number of people have been placed on the no fly list by the mere mistake of a clerical employee.
As a result, a number of innocent Americans have been on the no fly list for no apparent reason. While the DOT’s Fly Rights document provides some insight into this matter, it is not the answer.
Regardless, the government has made a conscious effort to keep a lid on the program. It is not available for public viewing, and it does not voluntarily release any of the documents used in the decision-making process. Also, removing a name from the database can be a tricky task.
The best way to find out if you have been placed on the no fly list is to file a complaint. Typically, this involves submitting a standard form to the Department of Homeland Security. Once the Department receives the complaint, it transmits it to the Terrorist Screening Center. After the TSC reviews the complaint, it will mail a letter out to the complainant explaining the resolution.
Returning home to U.S. territory after being denied boarding in a foreign country
If you are traveling to the USA and have been denied boarding at the airport, there are some things you can do to minimize the negative effects. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find out how to get back home. A good starting point is to contact Overseas Citizens Services, which can coordinate your return travel. You can also ask for a lawyer.
The CIA’s Office of Science and Technology estimates that there are more than a million denied boarding cases each year. There are a few reasons for this, including health issues, fraudulent documents, and even passports from impostors. However, if you have a legitimate reason for being denied boarding, you should not give up.
Although it may be difficult to get the US government to assist you in your time of need, there are some steps you can take to help your cause. First, gather as much information as you can about what happened and why. After that, you can start to brainstorm the best course of action. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to enlist the aid of a lawful permanent resident or a lawyer.
In addition to the aforementioned steps, you should also make sure you have a transit itinerary in hand. This will help the CBP determine if you need to be turned away and will be the first step in getting you to your final destination. Also, if you have a frequent flyer account with the airline, you may be able to alert the CBP of your past experience.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to argue with the people at the airport. While you should not get in an argument, you should also not expect to win. It is in your best interests to be courteous and honest, and you may be surprised at what the airline and the government have to say.
Another adage is that you shouldn’t argue with the government. They may have their own reasons for doing so. For instance, the US Government has a 24 hour carrier liaison hotline that can be reached at any time. So, if you feel you are being treated unfairly, you can call up the Department of State’s office in your home country and get an official opinion.
The best way to handle a denial of entry is to plan your trip in advance. This can help you avoid a situation that could result in your passport being revoked. Furthermore, you should know that there are a number of visa options available.
The government does its part to protect its borders and citizens, but there are still times when you may have to rely on your own good sense and wits. If you do get a ticket for a flight back to the US, you should keep in mind that the odds of you being allowed to board your plane are slim. To minimize your chances of getting a bad deal, consult an immigration attorney before putting your name on that passenger list.